I was both excited and nervous starting this ghost tour. We met outside of O'Sullivan's Rebel Bar- it was on a street lined with many other bars. I wasn't sure that this was the best place for starting a ghost tour, especially one that was supposed to be family friendly. I couldn't imagine being comfortable taking my children there. I shouldn't have worried. The bar was a nice place, and it was too early to see too many of the "rebels". We started the tour late. The tour guide assigned to our tour that night had an emergency and didn't tell anybody he couldn't make it. They called in someone else, who had to drop everything he was doing, get dressed up, and get out to us. It was already a bad omen when almost an hour after our appointed tour time, Julian came running up out of breath, and distraught over our tour group having waited so long. He was very apologetic and eager to get everyone taken care of, and have us start our tour! I liked Julian immediately- he was a young, short, Frenchman who looked great in a top hat!
He explained something interesting about Paris, and French people in general. There is a reason why they only do the tour in English- the French don't do ghost tours. They are a very practical people who don't really go in for the supernatural or anything mystical. This really reflected in their ghost stories- because to tell you the truth- Paris isn't really all that haunted- not according to the stories anyway. It should be. A city with all of that age and history should be crawling with ghosts right and left, and yet on the tour, we didn't really hear about very many ACTUAL hauntings. Most of the stories involved cool, gruesome deaths, and some notorious criminals. On our ghost tour, we really only heard about three ghosts.
Julian's storytelling style was very different from my style. This is not a bad thing, it's just different. I play for the scary. I want to tell a great story that leaves everyone with a little shiver. I'll tell a story straight, then try to end with just a little zing on the end that makes the hair rise on people's arms. Julian was going for complete entertainment, not scary. He worked with props, with jokes and puns, and was more likely to get a laugh than a shiver. Was it enjoyable? Absolutely. Was it scary? Um. Well. The stories weren't, but we still walked back to our hotel as quickly as possible, holding onto one another for safety and comfort. It was not from the stories. More about that later...
Our first stop was actually inside O'Sullivan's Rebel Bar. Julian led us through the bar, down the stairs to the basement, then around the basement dining room, down some MORE stairs, into a narrow hallway and a small stone room set up with tables and chairs and covered with graffiti. I would never have guessed that the room would have existed as part of the bar- it seemed so remote and secret. As it turns out, the room predated the rest of the bar- that would explain the stone masonry. It had existed since the Roman Times, and in those ancient days, it was used to store the crucifixes the Romans would use in their executions. Now, how's THAT for a start of a ghost tour?